President Rivlin comments on terror attack in France, and meets with newly appointed Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton
(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
President Rivlin: "This attack shows the true face of the brutal nature and the horror of terrorism. The whole free world must understand that our values are under attack."
Following the terror attack in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church in France, President Reuven Rivlin reiterated his call for international unity in the face of the threat of terrorism and religious hatred. "This attack shows the true face of the brutal nature and horror of terrorism. This is an attack by radical extremists, terrorists, who have struck at the very symbol of peace and murdered in cold blood in a house of God, while they pretend to speak in His name."
He stressed, "The whole free world must understand that our values are under attack. We must fight to defend them, lest we be overtaken by waves of intolerance and hatred," and added, "Israel stands side by side with the people of France, and we send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families."
Earlier in the day, President Rivlin met with the Father Francesco Patton, who was recently appointed as Custos of the Holy Land.
President Rivlin told him, "The whole world must stand up and fight to bring to an end the terrible winds of fundamentalism of those who believe that they have a right to harm or even kill those who do not have the same beliefs as them. It is our duty, each and every one of us, from every nation, every religion, every human being to oppose this."
He reiterated to Father Patton, "I can assure you, that the Government of Israel and the nation of Israel respect the ability of every human being to worship God as they choose." He added, that "one of the most important values that Israel holds is the principle of the freedom to worship God according to the beliefs of everyone. We know very well here in Jerusalem that there is only one God, he is the God of all us, and he gave us the freedom to worship him according to our beliefs. Although there are those who say there is a religious war – this is blasphemy."
The President concluded, "Your position as the guardian of your beliefs in Jerusalem is very important to us and I welcome you from the bottom of my heart, as President of Israel and as a seventh generation Jerusalemite. Last year, I visited the Pope and we spoke about the Land of the Monasteries on the Jordan Valley. There are many people around the world who want to visit this very important place, where your traditions teach is the site of the Baptism, and we are working to develop this area to welcome pilgrims and also for water conservation. Our cooperation together on this with all the peoples of the Holy Land is a message to the whole world."
Father Patton thanked the President for his warm words, and said, "I visited here many years ago, and I am proud to return to serve my order and the Pope. I am very open to every kind of cooperation, we know that we have to always work together and maintain our good relationships, as you say this is a message to the whole world. Today the message coming from this region is not good, and we must work for peace, God asks that we work for peace."